Missing sea eagle found after sightings over East Lancashire

Blackburn Citizen: Nikita, a 10-year-old Steller’s sea eagle Nikita, a 10-year-old Steller’s sea eagle

A MISSING bird of prey has be found safe and well after a five day search across East Lancashire.

Nikita, a 10-year-old Steller’s sea eagle, disappeared from Hawk Experience, in Brackenbottom, near Horton-in-Ribblesdale, last Saturday.

The bird, which has an eight-foot wing span, had been spotted in Foulridge on Wednesday night and then in Clitheroe and Longridge on Thursday morning.

Her trainer, Chris O’Donnell, had been tracking sightings of her and finally caught up with Nikita on Thursday afternoon in Poulton-le-Fylde.

He said: “We found her in the end, but it was a long, hard chase. We’ve done some mileage trying to catch up with her.

“She was heading towards the coast, but I’m not sure if that was because she was a sea eagle, or because the wind direction was heading that way.

“We seemed to be always ten minutes behind her, we had people calling in sightings and we would go there and then she would be gone.”

Steller’s sea eagles are native to eastern Russia, and migrate to Japan each winter.

“Going without food for half a week or a week isn’t a problem,” said Mr O’Donnell. “They are native to Russia and are used to surviving in cold weather.

“But I think she was pretty happy to come back to us and get out of that filthy weather.

“She has had a good feed and we’ve given her a bath as she was pretty muddy from sitting in fields.

“We are just glad to have her back. It has been quite a journey for us.”

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